Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

December 9, 2012

$35.6M project to include school renovations, community center

GOSHEN — Picture this: A large facility with multiple pools, fitness areas and community meeting rooms in the heart of Goshen. The facility would be accessible by foot traffic or by vehicle, made affordable for membership and use.

It’s the proposed Goshen Community Center, which may be green-lit soon if it passes through the Goshen City Council, Goshen Community School Board and Goshen voters, according to project director Bruce Stahly.

The $35.6 million project, which also includes renovations and construction at two Goshen schools, would be paid for through a combination of private partners, donors and bonds issued to taxpayers, according to a presentation created by Stahly, the recently retired superintendent of Goshen Community Schools.

While some people may balk at the price tag, Stahly said he thinks the project is worthy of pursuit for the greater good of the community.

“We’re not going into this blind thinking it will be easy,” Stahly said Thursday. “We know it’s going to be difficult. ... I think Goshen is a great community, and like the new slogan says, ‘Common Good. Uncommonly Great,’ this community center is being built for the common good. I think it will make Goshen a better community.”

The project must first pass through a preliminary determination hearing in January with the school board Jan. 28 and the city council Jan. 15, Stahly said. This preliminary determination hearing is to decide whether or not the project should be voted on through a referendum in May.

The two-part referendum would go to Goshen voters, asking for the taxpayers to take on a 20-year bond issue, Stahly said. One question would focus on the city’s portion of the cost, and the other on the school corporation’s portion. The maximum city tax impact is $18.4 million, while the school corporation’s maximum tax impact is $17.2 million, for a combined maximum total of $35.575 million, according to numbers provided by Stahly.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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